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Why Locally Made Fashion Matters

by: Rosie Dalton | 11 months ago | Features

Image: the locally-made Jones Dress by Melbourne-based brand Limb.

Shopping ‘local’ isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that’s become increasingly vital, as local fashion manufacturers struggle to survive in an industry dominated by low cost overseas production. The Australian Financial Review points out that local manufacturing contributes to our gross domestic product and exports. But many local businesses are now struggling, with 92% of the clothing sold in Australia being imported.

This comes at a high cost to both people and the planet. And it is for this reason that Local’ is one of our eight core values underpinning Well Made Clothes. As an Australian company, we believe in supporting the underdogs in fashion while we still can. So, with local production now unfortunately in decline, it’s now or never to help keep the onshore fashion industry alive.

"A lot of family-owned businesses are having to shut down because there's just not enough demand for their services," explains well-made designer Jillian Boustred. "So, it's really important to support Australian-made labels in order to keep the industry alive," she says. Supporting local means retaining creativity in the Australian fashion industry and it also means taking control of our wardrobes. This is because local brands often tend to have greater control over (and visibility of) their supply chains.

Making clothes locally can mean tighter margins and smaller production runs for designers, but from a consumer perspective, it also means higher quality and more original designs. The reason so many brands are now turning to overseas manufacturing, of course, is because it is cheaper. But keeping manufacturing alive onshore means having a good understanding of where your clothes come from and how they are made. 

To meet our Local value, WMC brands must prove that a minimum 80% of their Cut Make and Trim (CMT) production takes place in their country of origin. This reduces resources wasted and increases quality control. As we become more and more detached from the actual makers of our clothing, then, shopping local represents a way to retain local culture and creativity, while reconnecting with the people making our clothes.



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